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The Nobel Prize

It is notable that two Nobel Prize laureates have been engaged in education at the School of Science and Engineering, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan.

Dr. SHIRAKAWA Hideki Emeritus Professor

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Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2000 for the discovery and development of conductive polymers.

Dr. Shirakawa made significant accomplishments in the development of a new branch of polymer chemistry called conductive polymers (plastic that conducts electricity) and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2000.

In 1967, Dr. Shirakawa succeeded in the synthesis of polyacetylene film, which has a silver metallic sheen. In 1977, he subsequently discovered how to change the insulator, polyacetylene, to a conductor through collaborative research with American scholars. In 1979, he left the Tokyo Institute of Technology to assume the role of an associate professor at the recently established University of Tsukuba, and in 1982, he was granted professorship. As a professor at the University of Tsukuba, Dr. Shirakawa devoted more than 20 years to research and education related to conductive polymers such as polyacetylene.

From 1991 to 1993, Dr. Shirakawa served as the Chair of the Master’s School in Sciences and Engineering, which was the predecessor to the Graduate School of Pure and Applied Sciences. Furthermore, from 1994 to 1997, he served as a Provost at the Third Cluster of Colleges, which was the predecessor to the School of Science and Engineering. In 2000, he retired from his professorship, and in the same year, he received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

In addition to the technical works relating to conductive polymers, Dr. Shirakawa also wrote books such as “Teaching through Chemistry” and “The Path I have Walked.”

University of Tsukuba/Shirakawa Memorial Room

 The late Dr. TOMONGA Shin-itiro Emeritus Professor

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Nobel Prize in Physics 1965 for fundamental work in quantum electrodynamics, particularly for the development of the super-many-time theory and the renormalization theory.

Dr. Tomonaga achieved many significant accomplishments in his research into theoretical physics, which was centered on particle physics, and was the second Japanese (after Dr. Yukawa Hideki) to receive the Nobel Prize in 1965.

From 1941, Dr. Tomonaga conducted his research at the Tokyo University of Science and Literature, which was the predecessor of the School of Science and Engineering. The Faculty of Science, Tokyo University of Science and Literature was originally located on a campus in Otsuka. However, post-war, the Tomonaga research laboratory was transferred to the site of a former army technology research laboratory in Okubo. In spite of the difficult times following the end of the Second World War, many young researchers from around the country continued to devote their energies in achieving a common research goal. The super-many-time theory and the renormalization theory were developed during this period.

In 1949, following reorganization, the Tokyo University of Education was opened. Simultaneously, Dr. Tomonaga was granted Professorship. He continued to conduct his research and education at the university until his retirement in 1969. He also contributed to the management of the university. He served two terms as a university president from 1956 to 1962, and also served as a director at the affiliated Institute of Optical Research.

Furthermore, he produced many works, including textbooks in his field of study, such as “Quantum Physics,” the first edition of which was released in 1949. Additional works include introductory material such as “What is physics?” and essays such as “Birds that come to the house.”

University of Tsukuba gallery/Tomonaga Memorial Room
University of Tsukuba/Tomonaga Memorial Room